Sometimes, when bands break up, it spells the end for everyone involved. However, when The Enemy said farewell in 2016, a chink of light shone through the sadness in the form of Tom Clarke. The diminutive front man has a colossal vocal and, if Tom gets creative with it, what’s to stop him doing what Paul Weller has done post-The Jam?
Last week at the 100 Club, Clarke, armed with a guitarist and keyboardist, came out fighting. The set largely consisted of the classic debut album ‘We’ll Live And These Towns’. The tightness of Andy Hopkins and Liam Watts’ playing was sorely missed on ‘Aggro’ and ‘Technodanceaphobic’.
However, the raw power of Clarke’s soulful punk rock vocal carries everything else to The Enemy’s standards. Furthermore, on ‘You’re Not Alone’ and ‘Happy Birthday Jane’, the earnest beauty of Clarke’s writing is illuminated more than ever. The dual acoustic guitars serves the gritty anthem ‘No Time For Tears’ better also, the reduction in rock swagger gives it a mortality that the Ken Loach-esque lyrics deserve.
So, what about the new songs? ‘Don’t Need Nobody Else’ is defiant and full of The Enemy’ you’re your face attitude. Meanwhile, ‘Back To The Start’ demonstrates how to funnel the angst of the struggle into a crowd uniting sing-along.
The man of the people has spoken and will return in 2019. You have been warned!